Elise W. Smithson

April 18, 1924November 19, 2020

Elise Winifred Smithson,96, of Amarillo passed away quietly in her sleep on Thursday, November 19, 2020.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 from 8am to Noon at Griggs Schooler Gordon Funeral Directors; 5400 Bell St in Amarillo. A graveside service will follow on Wednesday afternoon at 2pm at Llano Cemetery, 2900 S. Hayes with Gemma Reyes officiating. You may view the service via our livestream at, or by clicking "Join Live-stream" below.

Elise was born to Charles and Anna Grubham on April 18, 1924 in Grand Haven, Michigan. She was raised in Grand Haven along with her other seven siblings during the Great Depression. She spent her free time swimming in Lake Michigan and fostering her love of music and music performance. It seemed only a natural course since her father was employed at the Wurlitzer Piano Company.

Elise graduated from high school in 1942, initially employed in the war industry supporting WWII, and then later enlisted in the Navy WAVES in May 1944. She served a Radioman Third Class until her discharge in March 1946 being stationed in Chicago, IL, Bremerton, WA, and San Francisco, CA.

In 1946, she met her soon to be husband Wiley Smithson, Jr. in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after his discharge from the US Navy in April 1946. They were married on August 3, 1946 in Grand Haven, Michigan and returned to Texas to begin their life together. They lived in the Texas cities of Hillsboro, Breckinridge, Kermit, and finally settled in Borger raising four children. She lived in Borger until January 2000 when she moved to Amarillo. In March 2015, she was admitted to Park Central and then transferred to Sycamore facilities where she received the most gracious and loving care from the dedicated staff for Alzheimers. The family wishes to express our deepest appreciation to all of the staff who have cared for our mother during her time of need.

Elise was preceded in death by her twin daughters Elyse Nadine and Mary Elizabeth in 1955, husband Wiley Smithson Jr. in 1990; her sisters Mildred, Charlotte, Geraldine, Esther, and Virginia and her brothers Kenneth and Charles. Those left to cherish her memories are her son Keith Smithson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, daughters Lucille Coggins and her husband Michael of Stephenville, Texas, Barbara Campbell and her husband Mikel of Amarillo, Texas, and Alyce Ashcraft and her husband Glen of Lubbock, Texas; 6 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.



  • Visitation

    Wednesday, November 25, 2020

  • Graveside Service

    Wednesday, November 25, 2020



Elise W. Smithson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Margaret (Meg) Wallhagen

November 24, 2020

Dear Alyce, Words can't capture what I'd like to express but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your Mother's story is just amazing. I really loved hearing about her role during WWII! Much to be proud of. I know losing a parent is truly difficult and hope that the fond memories and support of others help at this time. Take care. Meg

Ellarene Sanders

November 24, 2020

Your Mom was a very special lady. While you will miss her every day as I do my Mom, she will always be in your heart. I am sorry for your grief now and in the coming days. Sending thoughts and prayers for you and all of your family who are so sad at the present time. I will be thinking of you especially tomorrow. Ellarene

Janice Crist

November 24, 2020

Dear Mrs. Smithson: You must be very proud of your daughter Dr. Alyce Ashcroft, as proud as she is of you. I am honored to read your story and to collaborate with your distinguished daughter in our efforts to improve the care of older adults. Respectfully, Janice Crist

Richard Caballero

November 24, 2020

Dear Keith,
Please accept our sincerest condolences upon your Mom's passing. Having read in her biography of her service to the Nation during war, it was not at all surprising that she and your Dad raised you to seek a lifetime of service as well. I hope you find some comfort at this sad time knowing they were undoubtedly as proud of you as you were of them.

Rich and Kathy Caballero

Keri Campbell

November 22, 2020

Grams was a straight shooter and I loved that about her. She will be greatly missed. Love you Grams ~ keri, ryanne & tate


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